ITALIAN EASTER PIE
CIAO. Buona Pasqua! |Happy Easter|
Today, as I look forward to making my traditional Italian Easter Pie again this year, and to sharing the recipe with you……
I find myself taking a little sentimental journey to Florence, Italy. That is because ever since I stayed at the world renowned Villa San Michele in Florence……
I have been making this recipe for Italian Easter Pie. You see, this amazingly beautiful hotel, which is nestled atop the blue hills of Tuscany on the outskirts of Florence, serves an Italian Easter Pie for breakfast.
Every morning of my stay I took my breakfast alfresco on the covered loggia of the hotel, enjoying unparalleled vistas across the Arno Valley and Florence below. And every morning I had a piece of their delicious Easter Pie, made with ricotta cheese and pine nuts, scented with lemon and wrapped in a delicate crust.
In fact, I loved the pie so much I had a piece after dinner as well!
Once a monastery, this 15th century Villa is now one of Europe’s most glamorous hotels. It also has one of Florence’s finest restaurants, overseen by Michelin-starred chef, Attilio di Fabrizio. Chef Fabrizio makes a mean Italian Easter Pie.
You can have a piece of his Italian Easter Pie on one of the lovely terraces……
where a very nice Italian waiter will serve you as you lounge under the Tuscan sun……
and marvel at your good fortune as one of the privileged guests enjoying this elegant and historic setting.
You can also enjoy a slice of Italian Easter Pie in one of the Villa’s beautiful guest rooms. Breakfast in bed perhaps?
Or, you can enjoy a piece of Italian Easter Pie in the lush gardens where oranges and lemons are grown.
As you stroll through the fragrant grounds you are reminded that for centuries this hallowed ground was tended by Franciscan monks.
The monks may have even nurtured the very lemon tree that now grows the lemons used in the preparation of the Italian Easter Pie.
It is believed that the facade of the Villa San Michele can be attributed to the great Michelangelo. I wonder, do you think Michelangelo liked Italian Easter Pie?
Stepping inside you can’t help but think, wow, those Franciscan Monks really had it good! I wonder if they liked Italian Easter Pie too?
Well, in any case, I liked The Villa San Michele’s Italian Easter Pie so much I couldn’t wait to get home and conjure up a recipe for this wonderful delicacy myself. So, below is the recipe I developed. Try it. And, if you ever go to the Villa San Michele yourself, try a piece of the Italian Easter Pie that was the inspiration for my recipe. Then, do let me know how well I did with the knock-off recipe.
Villa San Michele photos via
- 1 - 15 Ounce Container Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese, Drained Very Well
- 4 Large Eggs, Beaten
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- ¾ Cup Cooked & Cooled Arborio Rice (or other short-grain rice)
- ½ Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
- 8 Sheets Frozen Phyllo Dough, Thawed in the Refrigerator
- 8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) Melted Butter
- Drain ricotta cheese through cheesecloth over a bowl for about 2 hours.
- Discard the liquid and transfer the ricotta cheese to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the beaten eggs, powdered sugar, lemon zest and vanilla to the cheese and combine.
- Gently stir in the rice and pine nuts and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly butter a 9 inch spring form pan.
- Open the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp dish cloth to keep it from drying out as you work with it.
- Using a pastry brush, brush one sheet of phyllo dough with butter.
- Transfer the buttered sheet of dough over the springform pan, allowing 1 side of the phyllo to drape over the outsides of the pan.
- Allow for about a 2-1/2 inch overhang of dough.
- Add another sheet of buttered phyllo, this time laying it across the opposite side of the pan and again, draping the excess over the sides.
- Repeat this process, alternating the direction of the phyllo a quarter turn each time until all eight layers of dough are used.
- Spoon the ricotta cheese mixture into the phyllo lined pan.
- Fold the overhanging phyllo dough up and over the top, draping it loosely over the ricotta mixture.
- Brush the top layer of phyllo with melted butter.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the filling is set and the phyllo dough is golden brown.
- Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Remove the sides of the springform pan and place pie on a serving plate.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
- Best served at room temperature.
- Refrigerate any leftover pie.
So there you have it: ITALIAN EASTER PIE
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